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Product Compliance Testing:
Ensure Your Products Are Safe

Did you know that products can only be sold legally in their target market? To sell a new product you have to meet certain regulations and requirements regions like the EU, the US, China, Japan, and dozens more are incredibly punctilious, diligent, and ultra-careful to a product’s safety standard. So, for example, if you want to sell an energy drink in China, as well as in the US, you’ll need to fill out a lot of paperwork and test it to death — that’s where product compliance testing comes in. Let’s take a look at what it is, and how it ensures your products are safe and of greater quality.

What is product compliance testing? 

Product compliance testing is the process of ensuring that a product has met the standards of all of the applicable regulatory requirements.

It includes:

  • Ensuring that the product complies with all applicable regulatory requirements.
  • Evaluating and determining whether the product has any potential risks to human health or the environment.
  • Testing and analyzing if there are any compliance issues with the product.
  • Developing an action plan to address any compliance issues with the product.
  • Ensuring that all necessary documentation is completed for each step of this process.

The need for compliance testing is something that has been around for a long time. Many products require it, and there are many rules in place to make sure they are safe.

A product may require compliance testing for several reasons. For example, if the product is imported from abroad, then it will need to be tested for safety and quality standards of the new market/country. let’s suppose, you’re selling a Captain America action figure in Canada but manufactured in China, then you’ll need to present a test that assures its safety and quality — its chemical makeup, for what age it’s appropriate for, whether his shield is a choking hazard, its packaging, etc. The same goes for food and beverages. Let’s say that a product contains certain chemicals or ingredients that are subject to restrictions or prohibitions, then it will also require compliance testing. Furthermore, if the product has been recalled by Health Canada or another regulator in another country because of safety concerns, then it will require compliance testing before being sold again.

It’s an incredibly complex process and that’s only for one jurisdiction - Canada. Now, imagine if you also want to market the First Avenger in the US, or Argentina, or Japan, or the EU.? And, here’s the kicker, you’ll have to do product testing for the whole line-up. All the Marvel gang - Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, etc. It’s a bit overwhelming.

Global regulations

What makes the whole process that much more daunting is that each country has its own set of regulations. Some of them are duplicates of others, and there’s a standard — others aren’t. In many cases, manufacturers have to either create a product that’s specific to that country or simply forgo the possibility of launching it in that market. 

Let’s take a long as some of the regulations manufacturers might need to meet to launch their products in key regions

Product-specific safety standards regulation

Most countries have a facsimile of this regulation. Product-specific safety standards regulate the safety of a product by mandating that the manufacturer must meet certain safety requirements. The regulation is intended to ensure that the product has been tested and is safe for use. There are many different types of products that have specific regulations, such as toys or vehicles.

Chemical Substance Regulations - REACH Regulation, etc.

Chemical substances are regulated by the Chemical Substance Regulations, which is a set of regulations enforced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration - OSHA. The regulations are enforced to protect employees from harmful or potentially harmful chemical substances in their work environment. The Chemical Substance Regulations include requirements for labeling, handling, and storing chemicals. The regulations also cover the use of protective equipment and training. There are three categories of chemicals: those that pose a health hazard, those that pose an environmental hazard, and those that pose both a health and environmental hazard.

POP Regulation

The EU POP Regulation is a regulation that controls the production, use, and disposal of certain hazardous substances. The EU POP Regulation was adopted in 2013 and became law in 2015. It is one of the most significant pieces of environmental legislation to come out of the European Union. The regulation was created to protect human health and the environment from hazards caused by chemicals that can be released into the air, water, or soil.

Food Contact Regulation - EC - 1935/2004

The EC 1935/2004 is a document that regulates the safety of food contact materials. It is the European Union’s -EU - legislation on materials that are in contact with food. The regulation applies to any material or article which comes into contact with food, which includes packaging, containers, and utensils. The EC 1935/2004 was created to protect public health by preventing contamination of food and drink by dangerous substances such as lead, cadmium, mercury, hexavalent chromium, and polychlorinated biphenyls -PCBs. The regulation also has requirements for labeling certain substances found in certain products.

EU Toys Directive

The EU Toys Directive 2009/48/EC is a European Union regulation that sets the safety standards for toys. The directive applies to all toys and other articles intended, whether or not exclusively, for use in play by children under 14 years of age. The directive has been updated to include new toy types such as electronic games and computer equipment, while at the same time removing other toy types such as tricycles. The directive aims to ensure that all toys are safe and meet minimum standards of quality and safety. It also requires manufacturers to provide warnings about potential hazards associated with their products.

Labeling Requirements – Country of origin

Labeling Requirements Regulation is a regulation that all products must be labeled with the country of origin. This regulation was introduced in 2003 and has been updated several times since then. This regulation states that all products must be labeled with their country of origin on the product label. The country of origin can be written in any language, but it must be easily readable by an average consumer. The country of origin is usually placed on the back label or the front label if there is no back label available.

Labeling Requirements 2

Did you know that food products sold in Uruguay need a special label? They have to say, in bold black font, their health hazards — inordinate amounts of salt, excessive amounts of fats and calories, etc. If you cross the border to Argentina or Brazil you no longer need to comply with that Federal requirement. In most cases, manufacturers would rather have - for branding - purposes the same product packaged twice — one for the rest of South America, and one for Uruguay. The same circumstance repeats itself across the world. In Islamic countries, it's either illegal to sell pork products or you’ll need to label it in bold letters on the packaging. In some countries, with rampant diabetes, you’ll need to cut back or detail how much sugar your soft drink has. Every region has a different labeling requirement, and part of compliance testing is just that, giving companies the necessary info to properly launch their products in key markets. 

How is compliance testing done?

The testing is conducted by a team in many cases spearheaded by a compliance officer. There are a lot of stages involved. Let’s point them out:

  • Define compliance goals. 
  • Create a scorecard. 
  • Employ risk management tactics.
  • Analyze the product’s manufacturing. 
  • Use tools and processes to test the product in question. 
  • Gather evidence.

Never ignore product safety compliance testing

 Product safety compliance testing is a mandatory requirement for all products. It ensures the safety of people and the environment, and that the product is not hazardous to use. It is important to ensure that your product complies with all relevant requirements and standards before going into production. This reduces the risk of recalls, fines, brand damage, and potential lawsuits.

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